Tennis player Rafael Nadal [R] and Gabriel Escarrer, CEO of Melia Hotels International [L] Image Credit: Supplied

Global tennis player Rafael Nadal has launched a new hospitality brand in collaboration with Meliá Hotels International. The brand, called ZEL, will feature a Mediterranean vibe and will be focussed at travellers looking for a premium lesiure offering, and 'bleisure' or business-leisure travellers.

Nadal and Gabriel Escarrer, CEO of Melia Hotels International, presented ZEL on Thursday in Madrid. The brand will first begin to operate in Spain, and then later in key destinations in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and America.

Rafael Nadal said, “As a Spaniard, a Mallorcan and a global traveler, the launch of our hotel brand is a project that I have had in mind for a long while. ZEL is synonymous with feeling good at all times and enjoying life and the way we live it throughout the Mediterranean. I was really attracted from the start to this new concept we have been working on with Meliá. I’m confident that ZEL will be a great success and will achieve considerable growth and be enjoyed by all of those travelers who stay in the hotels, which in the end is the reason we are creating it.@

ZEL, a press release stated, will have a range of different strategic partners in its international growth in areas such as dining, decoration, well-being, and technology. This is in addition to the luxury hospitality experience brought in by the Melia group. 

ZEL by Nadal and Melia
The first hotel under the ZEL brand is set to open in Mallorca next year Image Credit: Supplied

Gabriel Escarrer commented, “The result of combining the inspirational leadership of Rafael Nadal and the international experience of more than 65 years of Meliá in creating luxury hotels and in hotel management, is the unique brand we present today, which travelers are going to love and which will surprise the new generations. An innovative hotel brand, full of energy, with a new interpretation of well-being and a sustainable business model. We are happy to finally be able to announce our partnership in this project with an icon on both a personal and sporting level such as Rafael."

The first ZEL hotel will open in Mallorca in 2023. The brand's growth plan foresees the addition of more than 20 hotels in 5 years, in destinations on the Mediterranean coast and in capital cities such as Madrid, Paris, and London.

Nadal joins celebrities who co-own hospitality brands such as Robert DeNiro for Nobu Hotels, Lionel Messi with MiM (Messi i Majestic) Hotels in Spain, Hugh Jackman with the Australian resort Gwinganna Health Retreat and Olivia Newton-John who co-wons Gaia Retreat & Spa in Australia, among others.